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Galapagos Island Hopping

Staying on 3 different islands gives you an insight into the varied animal, marine and bird life, and meet local people and learn about the archipelago’s history.

Galapagos Island Hopping

Prices from: £4,975 pp for 6 nights

Spend a week in the Galapagos Islands, staying in 3 distinctive properties on different islands lets you gain an insight into life in the archipelago. You have plenty of time to observe the varied animal, marine and bird life, as well as to meet local people and learn about the islands’ geology and history.

This is an active trip, suited to those who like to get out and about with opportunities for walking, hiking, kayaking, paddle-boarding and mountain biking. This allows you to explore areas few visitors see, away from the crowds. Not that you miss out on main highlights: you’ll get to see the amazing, oft-photographed views from Bartolome, the ‘miniature Galapagos’ of Tintoreras and the highlands of Santa Cruz with their lumbering giant tortoises.

You stay in a lovely selection of places. On Santa Cruz you are guests on a private farm with the whole hillside to yourselves, ending each evening round the campfire before retiring to bed in your cosy tent. On Floreana home is an air-conditioned wooden cabin facing the ocean, with a communal lounge and bar, and on Isabela you stay in a an attractive 10-bedroom hotel facing a gorgeous golden sand beach.

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Summary

  • Return mainland-Galapagos flights
  • Magic Galapagos Tented Camp, Santa Cruz 2 nights
  • Lava Lodge, Floreana 2 nights
  • IsaMar, Isabela 2 nights
 giant tortoises
DAY 1: WEDNESDAY

You flight from the mainland lands at Baltra airport where you are met and taken to the Itabaca Channel. Then it’s time for some waterborne fun! You have a choice of kayak or standup paddle board, or maybe you’d rather don the snorkelling gear to get a glimpse of life below the water. It’s all available and you have a couple of hours to enjoy it. You are then transported to the island on the other side of the channel, Santa Cruz, and up into the highlands where you find your home for the next 2 nights, Magic Galapagos Tented Camp. You’re in for a treat. As well as the tranquil location and comfy accommodation, you have company on the form of giant tortoises who also call this reserve home. Lunch and dinner are included in your holiday, and if you fancy a little tipple before bed, head to the atmospheric lava lounge for a nightcap. Lunch, dinner

Tortuga Bay
DAY 2: THURSDAY

You have a free day to spend as you wish, taking your pick of one of the suggested activities, included in your holiday. A visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station is a valuable use of your time, learning about conservation projects and seeing rehabilitated giant tortoises and marine iguanas at close quarters. Tortuga Bay offers opportunities for beach strolls and snorkelling, with kayaking and surfing available at extra cost. Other options include a trip to a neighbouring island, and a day’s fishing. Scuba diving is available, too, at extra charge. These activities need to be booked in advance. At the end of the day return to Magic Galapagos where dinner is served. Breakfast, dinner  

Lave Lodge
DAY 3: FRIDAY

Time for a change of scene. You are transported to the harbour where you catch sight of your catamaran, Seaman Journey. Having set down your bags in the cabin, head back up on deck for a warm welcome from the crew. You have lunch on board as the catamaran sets off for North Seymour, the location of your first shore excursion. This flat island is a favourite nesting site for magnificent frigatebirds, and you can also expect to see blue-footed boobies and swallow-tailed gulls. Look to the shore and you should spot sea lions among the surf and on the beach. At the end of the excursion you return to Seaman Journey to freshen up before dinner. Breakfast, lunch, dinner

giant tortoises
DAY 4: SATURDAY

A busy day. After breakfast you step ashore at Prince Philip’s Steps on the island of Genovesa. Ascend the path up the cliffs and follow the trail with your guide, a walk of around 2 hours in total, while you keep your eyes open for nesting storm petrels. At the top you are rewarded with wonderful views and the sight of petrels soaring above and around you. Head back down for a panga ride along the coast, and glimpses of fur seals and more seabirds. In the afternoon you have a wet landing at Darwin Bay, a lovely white coral sand beach, where there are good chances of seeing both red-footed and Nazca boobies, plus lava herons and yellow warblers. The walking trail leads to a viewpoint from which you can see red-footed boobies in the mangroves below, and get panoramic views of the island. Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Blue footed boobies
DAY 5: SUNDAY

Another full day of sights and activities. First on the agenda is South Plaza. Look out for the land iguanas here, smaller than those found on other islands, and especially for the unique hybrid iguanas, the result of interbreeding between land and marine iguanas. Your guide will point them out, showing you the land iguana’s crest and the marine iguana’s face and tail. In the afternoon you explore nearby Santa Fe. This island was formed by an uplift, is largely flat and is a good place to observe Galapagos doves and Galapagos hawks. After the walk you have time for some swimming and snorkelling, and don’t be surprised if you’re joined in the water by playful sea lions!  Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Finch
DAY 6: MONDAY

Following breakfast you visit the Jacinto Gordillo Breeding Centre on San Cristobal. Dedicated to caring for giant tortoises, the centre rears and cares for these creatures in a protected environment. You can watch the endearing juvenile tortoises, and on a walk in the grounds you are also likely to see finches, mockingbirds and warblers. After the visit you are transferred to the airport for the flight back to the mainland. Breakfast

baby giant tortoise
DAY 7: MONDAY

Following breakfast you visit the Jacinto Gordillo Breeding Centre on San Cristobal. Dedicated to caring for giant tortoises, the centre rears and cares for these creatures in a protected environment. You can watch the endearing juvenile tortoises, and on a walk in the grounds you are also likely to see finches, mockingbirds and warblers. After the visit you are transferred to the airport for the flight back to the mainland. Breakfast

Price from (pp sharing): £4,975 (ex. international flights)

Includes: Return flights from mainland Ecuador to the Galapagos Islands, 6 nights’ accommodation on twin share basis, meet and greet on arrival, meals as shown, transport as shown including shared speedboat transfers between islands, services of an English-speaking naturalist guide, excursions and activities as shown, use of snorkelling equipment, kayaks, stand-up paddleboards and bikes

Excludes: International flights, departure taxes, visas (not currently required by British passport holders), travel insurance, Galapagos National Park Fee currently US$100 payable locally in US$, tourist transit card (currently US$20), meals not shown as included, drinks, items of a personal nature, tips.

Getting there: This tour starts and ends on mainland Ecuador. Return flights from the UK to Quito cost from about £675, depending on season and availability. We normally book these for you.

Departure dates: This is a private tailor made holiday that can begin on the date of your choice, subject to availability.

Magic Galapagos Tented Camp

The camp is located on a hillside within a private farm, with views over the coast and ocean. There is no other lodge or camp in the area, and your only neighbours are the resident giant tortoises. You stay in a tent, comfy camping! With just canvas between you and the outside world, you feel part of the natural world. The main lodge is where you relax with other guests between activities and enjoy meals cooked in the adjoining open-air kitchen. The camp is ideally placed for watching the sunset, and later, after dinner, guests usually take a walk to the nearby lava tubes, a natural ‘lava lounge’, where a camp fire is burning and nightcaps are served. 

Lava Lodge

The Red Mangrove Lava Lodge is just 5 minutes from Puerto Velasco Ibarra, the main town on Floreana. This is the smallest of the inhabited Galapagos Islands and the first to be populated. The pace of life on Floreana is pleasantly relaxed. Lava Lodge is set on one of the most secluded bays on the island, a short walk from a lovely swimming beach and also close to the loberia, where you can observe sea lions. There are kayaks, paddle boards and snorkelling gear for you to use during your stay. Accommodation is in 10 self-contained pine-built cabins, each with its own bathroom with hot and cold water, a large veranda and outdoor reading area. Cabins are air conditioned for your comfort. The lodge has a snack bar, the perfect place to enjoy a sundowner at the end of the day.

Isabela Beach House

This small, 10-room hotel has a superb location facing a lovely sandy beach. It’s within walking distance of Puerto Villamil, so you have the services of the town, which include a number of restaurants, within easy reach, and is close a tortoise breeding centre you are welcome to visit. There are 10 rooms grouped together in pairs around the central deck. All are en-suite with hot and cold running water, have comfy beds and homely furnishings. Bedrooms have sliding glass doors that lead directly out to the deck. This area has sunny and shaded areas, chairs, sofas and loungers, and is lovely place to spend time between excursions and activities. The restaurant is open for breakfast and dinner, served within sight of the beach. There is Wi-Fi internet access, so you can contact family and friends at your leisure.

walking across lava flow rock

Take the next step...

We know and love the Galapagos Islands, and would delighted to help you plan your perfect Galapagos holiday. Call 01473 599082 and speak to one of our Galapagos travel specialists today.